Exploring Literary Landscapes – An Interview with Eve Gaal

Eve Gaal discusses her poetic roots, advertising career, and transition to fiction, weaving humor and depth into novels like Penniless Hearts and The Happy War.

Eve Gaal’s journey as a writer spans a rich tapestry of experiences, beginning with her early immersion in poetry and storytelling during her formative years. Inspired by literary giants like Edna St. Vincent Millay and T.S. Eliot, Eve developed a keen appreciation for the power of words to convey emotion and provoke thought. Her career in advertising provided a practical outlet for her creative energies, honing her skills in crafting compelling narratives and capturing reader attention.

Transitioning from advertising to full-time freelance writing marked a pivotal shift in Eve’s career, allowing her to delve deeper into her literary passions. Her novels, such as Penniless Hearts and The Happy War, reflect her diverse interests in romance, adventure, and the exploration of human relationships against vibrant settings. Eve’s ability to infuse her storytelling with humor and introspection resonates through works like The Fifth Commandment, where she explores themes of guilt and forgiveness through a supernatural lens.

Collaborative projects like Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales and her contributions to humor anthologies highlight Eve’s versatility as a writer. With each project, she navigates the delicate balance between wit and deeper themes, enriching her narratives with layers of meaning and entertainment value. Eve Gaal continues to captivate readers with her distinct voice and imaginative storytelling, inviting them on literary journeys that blend the ordinary with the extraordinary, and the profound with the humorous.

Your journey as a writer began at a very young age with poetry and stories. How did those early experiences shape your approach to writing fiction and poetry later in life?

Several of my poems were published in my high school yearbooks, school newspapers, and subsequently, in my college magazines. Inspired by my parents and fabulous teachers, I had developed a one-track mind revolving around poetry. Edna St. Vincent Millay, T.S. Eliot, and Whitman are favorites. I’ll never forget meeting poet Rod McKuen at a fundraiser when I was a college freshman. He made a cliché joke about my first name, related to trouble. In fact, he nailed it. With a name like Eve, I knew I wasn’t going to be a victim.

At first, my writing was a form of self-therapy. Angst-filled rage, and heartbreak filled my journals. Presumptuously, by age eighteen, I was a poet. The college instructor who managed my internship, gave me glowing feedback. Meanwhile, I auditioned for high school musicals, and began to understand that I could be an introvert, and an extrovert at the same time.  

Sadly, the reality of other subjects, college entrance exams, and the need to find work, pulled me back to earth. I had wonderful grades in English, creative writing, drama, and journalism, but those classes were not enough to propel my future into publishing. When I walked into our local newspaper and accepted a job writing ad copy, I thought, one day I’d gather my courage and talk to the editor about a real job. When I finally had a restaurant column, a new publisher found out my advertising career brought in more revenue, so I was transferred back to the advertising department. 

(Seven years later, while working full time in advertising, I returned to school for my Master’s Degree in Human Behavior, and graduated cum laude.)

Your novella, The Fifth Commandment, intertwines supernatural elements with themes of guilt and redemption. What inspired you to explore these themes, and what message did you hope to convey to your readers?

It’s a short book about honoring our parents. I had incredible parents, but we were so different. Dan, my parents were literally, rocket scientists. They thought I was a naughty and disrespectful teenager—which is sort of typical—but they loved me anyway. Since the book came to me in my dreams, I felt it had to be written. Remember the wonderful Bible story about Peter denying Jesus three times? The roosters? It’s a powerful story about forgiveness. Jesus hands him the church, the gate, and the keys to Heaven. This divine message is about God’s mercy.

You’ve transitioned from writing advertising copy in the corporate world to becoming a full-time freelance writer. How has this shift influenced your writing style and the topics you choose to explore?

Last year, I was a columnist at In2ition Magazine, where I wrote a column empowering woman. Unfortunately, this magazine is not publishing anymore. Currently, I am ghost-writing poetry for someone who told me his books are becoming bestsellers. Good for him. In the future, I’d like to publish a poetry book of my own. For years I had a blog called Intangible Hearts that explored my favorite topics: relationships and love.

Your book Penniless Hearts delves into themes of adventure and romance in Hawaii. What motivated you to write this story, and how do you approach crafting characters like Penny and Captain Dan Losegg?

I wanted to write a book that flowed like a poem. The fact that I worked with amazing graphic artists in the newspaper business, motivated me to place an amalgamated character as my lead, Penny. Captain Dan Losegg is based on your average cheating, lying boyfriend. The backdrop of Hawaii as a setting, gave it a level of exotic adventure.

I have since written a sequel titled, Penniless Souls, https://books2read.com/u/3GrYVP

and my latest novel is called, The Happy War. http://mybook.to/happywar 

As a contributor to Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales, you’ve collaborated with other authors to reimagine classic fairy tales. What drew you to this project, and how does collaborative writing differ from your solo projects?

Growing up, my favorite books were fairy tales. Many of my stories have magical elements grounded in a version of reality. The best way to share my stories is to participate in an anthology.

My Funny Valentine showcases your humor writing among other talented authors. How do you balance writing humor with deeper themes in your work, and what do you find most rewarding about writing comedy?

Last week, the Pope told an audience of comedians, that anytime they make even one person smile, they make God smile. That happy statement sounds rewarding to me and will remain one of my goals. Personally, I think having a touch of wit can be a life-saving mechanism, and to ‘Have a sense of humor’ should be the eleventh commandment. 

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